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Court halts expulsion of French-US academic detained at West Bank protest

Court halts expulsion of French-US academic detained at West Bank protest

An American-French law professor arrested while protesting against the demolition of a Palestinian village in the West Bank says an Israeli court has revoked a deportation order against him.

Frank Romano, who teaches law at the Paris Nanterre University, was released late Sunday on the orders of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court and spoke in a video posted on social media.

He said that police had earlier handed him to immigration officials for immediate deportation without a court hearing but he refused to sign a consent form.

“The judge called the immigration and said ‘bring him back’ and we had the hearing,” he said.

In the courtroom, the judge ordered his release, he said.

Supporters said he was allowed to stay in Israel until September 25, the original date of his return flight.

Israeli police arrest French-American law professor Frank Romano in the West Bank Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar on September 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

He was ordered to lodge a surety of NIS 1,000 ($256) and provide a guarantor for a separate NIS 5,000 bond, they said.

Romano was detained on Friday while taking part in a demonstration at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem.

The village of roughly 200 people is at risk of being demolished at any time, despite fierce criticism from key European nations.

On September 5, the High Court of Justice upheld an order to raze it on grounds it was built without the proper permits.

It is rare for Palestinians to be given permits to build in Area C of the West Bank, where Khan al-Ahmar is situated, by Israeli authorities.

The village is located in a strategic spot along the main highway leading from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea.

Palestinians and many Western governments are concerned that continued settlement construction in the area could eventually divide any potential Palestinian state that could be established in the West Bank in two and cut it off from Jerusalem, undermining hopes for a two-state solution.

Anti-demolition activists said Romano was arrested along with two Palestinian protesters when they tried to block bulldozers sent in by Israeli authorities to seal off an access road to the village.

Pictures on social media show him being led from the scene by Israeli riot police.

Full story is available here.

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